There are lots of different juicers out there, and they all work in slightly different ways. That said, the basic premise of a juicer is to separate the pulp and seeds of a fruit from the juice that it contains.
Different juicers do this in different ways, but by and large, they all involve crushing or slicing the fruit, before somehow separating the juice from the pulp and flesh of the fruit.
There’s a huge amount of different kitchen technology out there, and as such, there are loads of different kinds of juicers. The main ones, however, are centrifugal juicers, masticating juicers, and twin-gear juicers.
These prepare juice in fundamentally different ways. This means that the end product which you’ll drink will be slightly different between different models of juicer.
A good example of the difference between models is the main difference between the juice from a centrifugal juicer and the juice from a masticating juicer. Centrifugal juicers will produce smooth, sweet-tasting juice easily.
Masticating juicers will easily produce smooth juice, but it may taste a little more bitter compared to juice from a centrifugal juicer. This is because of the way masticating juicers work.
Masticating juicers generate juice by crushing the fruit that you put into them, and in some cases, bitter oils can leach out of the citrus peel, and into the juice.
This means that your juice may be slightly more bitter than a comparable glass from a centrifugal juicer. This is one example amongst many of how different juicers will produce slightly different juice.
How Centrifugal Juicers Work
Centrifugal juicers rely on the same principle as a washing machine to separate the juice that they make from the pulp.
When using a centrifugal juicer, you add the fruit to the top, and it enters the main chamber. Then, the fruit falls onto a rapidly spinning blade, which will chop the food up into extremely small pieces. The internal drum, which is now filled with pieces of fruit, will then begin to spin rapidly.
The centrifugal force which acts on the fruit means that the juice and pulp get separated. The juice will then come out of a spout on the side of the machine, and flow into a glass.
Excess pulp, which is a waste product in the process, is stored inside the centrifugal juicer to be thrown away when the juicer is cleaned.
The juicer will always produce extremely smooth juice. The fine mesh which separates the spinning chamber from the juice collecting outer ring is too small to allow pieces of fruit through, even small ones.
Furthermore, because the drum spins at such a high speed, a centrifugal juicer will juice fruit in a relatively short amount of time, compared to other juicers.
These types of juicers work best with hard, thick fruit and vegetables, for example, apples or carrots. There are some centrifugal juicers that work well leafy greens and soft fruits, but generally, those types of fruit are seen as the domain of the masticating juicer.
How Masticating Juicers Work
Masticating juicers work slightly differently from centrifugal juicers. The main differences are that they: spin slower, use a crushing motion to juice fruit, and have a different method for getting rid of the pulp.
Masticating juicers spin much more slowly, as they use a more gentle, but sustained pressure to juice fruit. The fact that they spin much more slowly is also a good factor in enabling them to work with lots of different fruits and veg, even lighter, leafier ones.
For example, if you wanted to juice kale or spinach, this is the type of juicer you would have to opt for. You simply couldn’t juice those types of fruit to anywhere near as high a standard with a centrifugal juicer.
These juicers, while good for softer fruits and veg, will also work well for the harder types of fruit that you would typically use a centrifugal juicer for. Because these juicers apply consistent pressure to whatever ingredients you put in them, they will juice nearly anything.
The crushing motion that these types of juicers use to juice the fruit they produce has both advantages and disadvantages.
On the positive side, these motions mean that they will reliably be able to juice almost anything that you put in them, from hard veg to softer stone fruits.
The downside of this crushing motion is that it can lead to some bitter oils from citrus peel leaching into the juice. This is obviously not an ideal feature for a juicer, but it all comes down to personal preference. If you don’t mind the taste of the citrus oils, then you don’t need to worry about them.
Masticating juicers also have a different way of getting rid of the pulp from the fruit that they juice. They typically have a separate pulp chute, where pulp will be pushed out at the same time that juice pours out of the spout on the juicer.
This means that in order to use one of these juicers, you may need to place another container under your masticating juicer, to catch the pulp. This means that you don’t have to take apart your machine in order to get the pulp out, but on the other hand, it can create more mess.
Having your juicer spit out pulp into a separate container will increase the chance of errant flecks of fruit juice getting onto the kitchen surfaces.
While this is an inconvenience easily solved by a cloth, it’s still something to be considered if you’re planning to use your juicer to make fresh orange juice every morning during the rush to get to work.
How A Twin-Gear Juicer Works
A twin gear juicer, also known as a triturating juicer, works just how you might expect it would, based on the name.
Food is added to a feeding tube above the machine. Gravity then draws the fruit or veg into the juicer, where it is crushed between two rotating gears.
The gears slot together very well, meaning that any fruit or veg that you put into one of these juicers will be turned into very small particles. The juice will then be extracted from this pulp, and the remaining, dry, pulp will be pushed out of the machine.
There are good and bad things about these machines.
One good thing about these types of juicers is that they typically have a very high yield, as they are capable of crushing the ingredients into extremely small pieces and then separating any juice from any pulp with very high efficiency.
This also means that the quality of the juice that they produce is very high because every single part of the fruit that you put in will be used, from the centre to the extreme edge.
If you want to avoid the problem that masticating juicers have with citrus oils, you would need to peel your fruit before putting in the machine. Otherwise, this juicer will be able to remove bitter oils from the peel, making your juice slightly more bitter too.
There are two main drawbacks of this type of juicer: the price, and the difficulty when cleaning.
These juicers can be really expensive, in fact, it’s difficult to find a good one for under $400! The reason that these juicers are so expensive is that they often need a powerful motor to power the gears which crush the fruit.
The gears are known for being able to chew through anything, so in order to achieve that result, you need a powerful motor.
These juicers can also be difficult to clean. Because small particles of fruit and fruit juice will be being crushed between two rotating gears, pieces of fruit will get everywhere. This makes them exceptionally difficult to clean because you have to clean every centimeter of the gears.
This is much more time consuming than the process of cleaning other juicers, which may be a negative thing if you’re planning to make juice as part of a rapid morning routine.
How Slow Juicers Work
Slow juicers are, simply, a different type of masticating juicer.
They make use of one or two augers which slowly crush and grind the ingredients that you put into them. As with masticating juicers, they’re particularly good for leafy greens or softer fruits which might struggle in a centrifugal juicer.
The idea behind making a masticating juicer slower is based on the chemistry of fruit juice. When you run a juicer at a high speed, it generates a lot of heat. The heat can oxidize the fruit juice that you make, and thereby, you may be losing some nutrients.
Slow juicers run much more slowly than other juicers, which means that they generate less heat, theoretically allowing more nutrients to stay in your juice. This low heat is why they are sometimes referred to as cold-pressed juicers.
In recent years these juicers have become more trendy, and you might see them behind the counter in more trend-focused cafes.
These types of juicers may have health benefits, and if that’s important to you, then it might be worth considering getting one of these machines. On the other hand, if the health benefits aren’t your primary concern, then you may prefer to buy a juicer which will make your juice more quickly.